Past Encounters 4


Things are getting complex, and the story makes me feel uneasy.

When we got to meet Helen, it was clear that what joined her and Peter was friendship and the love they both felt for Archie. Yet, now things have changed. It is clear that Helen wants something more from Peter and looks forward to his calls. He calls her every single day and at different times to talk to her. It is clear that this is what he should be doing with Rhoda, but apparently, he has found a replacement for Rhoda. I feel sorry for Rhoda because he doesn’t appreciate the effort she makes to come closer to him. We don’t get to see them together much, but Rhoda mentions his rough ways, and he is only interested in having his food cooked and his clothes washed and ironed.

I wouldn’t like him to leave Rhoda for Helen. I have nothing against the latter, and she is nice, but Rhoda is his wife, and Helen shouldn’t encourage him. I still don’t understand why he has kept Rhoda from Helen and Archie. Rhoda claims that he doesn’t know about the affair she had with Matthew, but maybe he does, and that is why their marriage is not working. When we read the parts about the war, Peter is a great guy and I like him, and when he writes to Rhoda, he is lovely. Yet, present Peter is nothing like the one in the past. Maybe he behaves like his old self with Helen, but Rhoda only gets the parts that are more unlikeable.

Rhoda has confessed to Helen that she had an affair, and she thinks that he was the love of her life. We finally get to see Matthew in the flashbacks. Rhoda meets him in 1945, so I imagine that their affair was short-lived, so I wonder how she can say he was the love of her life if she only knew him briefly. Matthew is part of a film crew that comes to the town to film a movie, and they are in the station where she works. From the first Matthew is drawn to Rhoda, but even though she is straight with him from the first, telling him that she is engaged, he can’t help but pursue her when he sees her. It is understandable that Rhoda’s loyalty to Peter staggers when she hasn’t seen him for five years, and his letters are so scarce. She doesn’t even know if he is alive. So it is no wonder that she and Matthew eventually have an affair. What I am curious to know is what happened to Matthew in the end. She mentions losing him, so I thought he died, and I think that is the most likely explanation. Otherwise, she claims she was the love of her life, so why didn’t she marry him or go with him? Or maybe he abandoned her in the end because he already had a wife and a family?

I have to admit that I love the parts about Rhoda more than those about Peter. Peter’s sections are hard but interesting. We understand that all that he went through made him the man he is now. I still can’t see why he has never talked to Rhoda about the war when he has no problems doing so with Helen. Apart from that, one of the most hateful characters is not a Nazi, but one of the British soldiers, Harry. He is so horrible and selfish. He keeps insulting Archie, and then when one of their group is killed, trying to escape, he hurls accusations against Archie, claiming that he might have told the Germans. He is also responsible for the death of a man when he fought with him for a blanket, and he is not even regretful. He only wants his welfare and cares for nobody else. I have the feeling that his end won’t be a nice one.


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